Request for Ubuntu Doc Leadership

Brendan Perrine walterorlin at
Thu Mar 17 01:13:10 UTC 2016

On Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:30:20 +0100
David Planella <david.planella at> wrote:

> Hi all,
> Apologies for the delay, which was on my end. We've been discussing the
> topic on our team call and we'd like to propose a meeting with the docs
> team. While the original e-mail covers the issue in great detail, and we've
> got some ideas, we'd like to get the doc's team views and come up together
> with a plan moving forward.
> I'd like to propose some dates for a meeting, to be reviewed around the end
> of the week to pick a date. If you are a member of the docs team or if you
> are interested to help, please choose the date(s) that work for you. If you
> are willing to attend and the timezones are an issue, please let me know as
> well, and I can add an extra choice:
> And an initial agenda (feel free to edit):
> Cheers,
> David.
> On Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 12:03 AM, Elizabeth K. Joseph <lyz at> wrote:
> > Hello community team,
> >
> > We are approaching you on behalf of the Ubuntu Documentation team to
> > ask for assistance with the issues the team is undergoing.
> >
> > The Ubuntu Documentation team maintains the following documentation:
> > – The desktop documentation at
> > – The serverguide at
> > – The community help wiki at
> >
> > We maintain documentation for how this documentation is maintained at
> >
> >
> > The team is loosely organized in three subteams, each team taking care
> > of one of the components mentioned above. In each team we have only a
> > few people that can be considered active; some of those only barely.
> > The state of all of the components can be described to be more or less
> > stalled and in desperate the need of more contributors. With the
> > string freeze for Documentation just a couple weeks away (March 17),
> > at this point we risk not having updated documentation for 16.04,
> > particularly for the Desktop.
> >
> > In the case of the community help wiki, the situation is even worse;
> > not only has it encountered spam attacks lately (which only mean more
> > work for the admins, who have been manually applying documentation
> > "patches" that contributors send to the ubuntu-doc mailing list), it
> > also has a lot of content that is completely outdated, useless and
> > unstructured. Due to the spam attacks, most community members can't
> > currently take any action to improve the situation.
> >
> > Following a meeting with the Community Council[0], we have begun to
> > identify what we feel the team needs, both in the short and long term.
> >
> > We believe one of the major underlying issues to this situation is the
> > teams inability to make decisions. The active and not so active team
> > members all have their own opinion on which tasks are sensible to take
> > on a certain component. This is especially problematic as sometimes we
> > have had volunteers signed up to do the work, but the team has wanted
> > to consider the issue further, ultimately stalling the process. When
> > most efforts to improve the situation seem to be in vain, it is no
> > wonder the team is not attracting new contributors either.
> >
> > As the Documentation team does not have a leader to steer the overall
> > direction, there is no way to easily resolve the problem.
> > Additionally, for various reasons, nobody from the current
> > contributors is willing to step up and take the leadership position.
> >
> > Our request and recommendation for the community team at Canonical is
> > to bring some leadership to the team from outside of the team.
> > Ideally, the person would be a Canonical employee who would have part
> > of their paid work assigned to working with the Documentation team. We
> > think the request is fair considering the documentation is important
> > and useful to many Ubuntu users and thus valuable to Canonical.
> >
> > We believe that a stable, fresh and adequately objective leadership
> > could help the team resolve the underlying issues and ultimately,
> > start growing the contributor base again. As part of and in addition
> > to leading and guiding the team, the leader could take on the
> > following tasks:
> > – Work as a mediator with the members to resolve disagreements, be
> > able to reach a consensus and get along with the work
> > – Work with other Canonical employees, encouraging them to take part
> > more in writing documentation, especially with the components they are
> > working with themself
> > – Work with the Canonical IS team to resolve technical difficulties
> > the community help wiki is experiencing
> >
> > We feel their role as a leader on this team would not be because they
> > work for Canonical, but because they are able to do the organizational
> > work that is needed. Anyone able and willing to do this would be
> > welcomed by us and the rest of the Documentation team. It's simply
> > come to a point on the team today where we are not able to fill this
> > role with a volunteer contributor.
> >
> > We do not think that the recommended arrangement has to be permanent
> > unconditionally. Building up a team and getting it working by itself
> > sometimes takes only time. We hope that with the leadership, the team
> > can build up the contributor base and ultimately, find a new leader
> > from within. If a leader is nominated, we will happily schedule a
> > checkup meeting to see how things are going, if there are other
> > actions that should be taken to grow and build up the team and if the
> > outside leadership is required any more.
> >
> > Finally, we'd be happy to chat with anyone wishing to take on this
> > role about the history of the team to give them some context for how
> > we got to where we are. The Documentation team has always been quite
> > small and has struggled to get contributors, but it was with this LTS
> > release that we have finally hit a breaking point.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Elizabeth K. Joseph (pleia2) and Pasi Lallinaho (knome)
> >
> > [0]
> >
> > --
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> >
> >
I think time zones are not an issue for me but more the unpredicatabilty of my schedule caused for needing to care for my father but the varience of when I will be freely available means I will probably not be able to attend but I wish I could. Belive me not knowing my own schedule is tough. 

Brendan Perrine <walterorlin at>

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